Chennai: Cement major India Cements Ltd will monetise some of its land to settle its debt and for capital expenditure, said a top company official.
He also said, in order to recover production costs that went up owing to drastic increase in coal prices, the company will be increasing the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three phases between June and July.
Speaking to reporters here on Friday N. Srinivasan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director said the company would monetise surplus land for repayment of loan and for some capital expenditure.
“We are not in distress sale mode. We have about 26,000 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The lands are of different categories,” Srinivasan said.
According to him, the company has to repay about Rs 500 crore of its debt and to that extent land monetisation would happen.
India Cements total debt at the end of last fiscal was about Rs 3,000 crore.
The capital expenditure is not much except for some balancing equipment and waste recovery plant in Chilamkur in Andhra Pradesh.
Srinivasan said the company would increase the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three parts — Rs 20 on June 1, Rs 15 on June 15 and Rs 20 on July 1.
He said the company’s products are already premium priced.
According to Srinivasan, the consumer has a choice as cement bags are now available in the price points ranging between Rs 320-450.
When queried that other cement players had expressed their plans to reduce their selling prices Srinivasan remarked: “Don’t compare. All costs have gone up. If I don’t increase the prices, I will runup huge losses.”
With a slow recovery in the southern markets further affected by record rains and floods in the previous quarter, the selling price of cement was under constant pressure resulting in uncompensated increase in the cost of production.
This was further compounded by the reduction in volume as the company as a prudent policy withdrew from the far off markets to focus on home markets.
Meanwhile, the company closed last fiscal with a total income of Rs 4,729.83 crore (FY21 Rs 4,460.12 crore) and a net profit of Rs 38.98 crore down from Rs 222.04 crore logged in FY21.
The company Board has recommended a dividend of Re.1 per share of Rs.10 each.